November 29, 2023

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An Overview: What’s the Deal Behind Smash?

by GVHSJagJournal
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By Santiago Felice

One of the games that I have foundstarted to find myself sinking more time into lately is one that you may or may have heard about, depending on what clubs you partake in. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a platform fighter that has a ton of dedicated players all across the world who are, sinking hours and hours into perfecting their play, but why? There are many ways that the question can be answered, with every playereveryone having their own personal reason for improvement or /enjoyment. For me, I can say for certain that I enjoy meetingthe feeling of being able to meet other people that share the same interest as me, as it’s something that puts a smile on my face every time. 

As for the people who may not be aware, Smash Bros itself is a unique fighting game that can be taken both seriously and casually, depending on your preference. The most basic summary I can give for how the game functions would have to be that it’s very lenient in terms of your movement. What do I mean by that? Well, for one, you have a wide range of movement options such as double jumps, rolls, and dashing. You practically have full control over where your character ends up going, and it definitely helps to know how it all works if you are to rack up any damage on the opponent. 

Inkling (Character on the left) trying to obtain the coveted Smash Ball (Item on the right.)

At first, it may seem intimidating having to learn all of the options available to you as a player, but to be honest, it’s a game in which almost anyone can fully get the gist if they were to play for more than 30-60 minutes. Due to this, Ssmash has become one of the most popular games on the Nintendo Switch, leading to over 25.7 million sales, making it the third most successful title on the console. 

You may be wondering what makes up a game that has achieved such high popularity?, Wwhat’s even in it? To answer that question requires, a lot of detailsthings really, but you can boil them down to the game modes and features available, and there are lots and lots of them. 

You will find about 5 main sections on the menu, each listing the separate sections of the games. In clockwise order, the first mode is simply titled “Smash,” and this is where the majority of the fighting takes place, containing many ways in which you can customize the way that a match could possibly play out. The second section is titled “Games & More,” and as the name suggests, this is where you will find the majority of the extra game modes as well as some cool features to indulge yourself in, such as the stage builder.  

The third section on the menu is titled “Vault,” is where you are able to find neat things such as all of the music in the game, (including DLC, or “downloadable content”, there are over 1,018 music tracks in the game of Smash Ultimate), challenges for you to complete, tips, and records of characters used in past battles. Records for these past battles can also be found, as well as replays of previous matches you saved,  all of the cutscenes in the game, and a shop that allows you to purchase in-game items with in-game currency that you can obtain throughout the game. There are no micro-transactions for this type of stuff, I promise. 

The second to last section is titled “Online.” In this mode you will be able to play online against other players around the world, allowing yourself to rack up what’s known as GSP, or “Global Smash Power”. You are able to participate in online tournaments, spectate other players’ matches, or search for matches with a preferred ruleset. 

Finally, we have the fifth section, “Spirits.” This is a pretty big mode, representing an entirely new addition to the Smash Bros franchise, Spirits. Spirits are collectibles representing other video game characters, that can either give you buffs in battle or act as something else to obtain, usually through means of battle, and there are about two main ways you can collect them. Firstly is through the big story mode known as “World of Light,” (where they are littered all over the main map of the mode), and the “Spirit Board,” where new spirits show up every now and then in order to be collected through selectable battles. It may not be a mode that everyone enjoys, but it’s still something to lose yourself in when you have time to waste. Who knows? You might have a bit of fun with it. 

The main menu of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, showing off all the sections available, (Smash, Games and More, Spirits, Online, and Vault.)

With all of the sections described, you may just want to hop in and knock around every single opponent that comes your way, but if you were to do so, my best guess is that you might get thrown around like a ragdoll, so you may need some quick tips to help you get started. So here is what Devin Ighile, the person in charge of the Smash Bros part of the Garnet Valley eSports Club, has to say to people who want to improve or learn at the game. 

“So if you want to improve, first off, you should play the tutorial,” suggests Devin Ighile, ” so you can actually know what buttons do. See, a lot of new players, they don’t know what any buttons do, like how to jump, they don’t know what the jump button is, they don’t know what attack is, what special attack is, so yeah, definitely play the tutorial. After that, I would honestly say…. Just play the game a lot.  Like, just get used to all the stuff, yeah, just play the game right? Just get used to how all of the buttons interact or know when to grab or how grab works and what direction you can throw. Once you play the game more, you kinda get used to how everything works,”.

In a nutshell, you can really start to see yourself improve at the game when you start to simply practice all the mechanics, see how you can use them to your liking, and utilize them to their greatest potential. You can even join the eSports Club to try out Smash Bros with other people if you want to get serious about it. There is one thing I want to say though, the majority of what I just said is very much optional unless you want to actually get good at the game. Overall, I like to think that’s another reason why Smash Bros is so unique, you get to choose whether or not you want to play seriously, it’s all up to the player.

An image from the beginning of the in-game tutorial video, featuring Mario(Left), and Bowser(Right). A recommended watch to get the very basic premise on how everything works. 

To wrap everything up, I would like to end the review with my own personal, overall thoughts. To start off, I’m going to say it loud and clear, I love this game. This is an experience that I like to think is worth it, as you get to have a fun time with friends and even play competitively if you want to feel that “rush.”  I like how there are so many modes, the amount of representation in terms of characters, the items (as chaotic as they may be), the competitive side of the game, the effort put into making everything seem as polished as possible, and how it practically represents gaming as a whole. I also like how you have the ability to take a look at your past matches through replays, stats about matches and characters, how every series gets to have representation in terms of music, and much more. 

In the end, I rank this game highly among the others I own, it being one that brings me joy, anger, and everything in between. I highly recommend giving this game a try, especially if you have the resources to do so. If not, there is always the eSports Club, which always has a switch to play on.  I’m not saying Smash is for everyone, we all have our preferences, but if you have the slightest bit of interest in this game, I seriously would want you to try it out, it’s great. 

The stage selection(Above) and the character selection(Below).

Images from the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate website and Santiago Felice.

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